A discussion on james madison a political theorist who protected the interests of citizens

A discussion on james madison a political theorist who protected the interests of citizens

They will always be with us: As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. Like the anti-Federalists who opposed him, Madison was substantially influenced by the work of Montesquieu, though Madison and Montesquieu disagreed on the question addressed in this essay.

At least one claim advanced by Madison on behalf of a system of representation in the context of a large republic seems self-evident.

To the extent that proposals do not impair the accepted rights of others, there is every presumption that the independent force will favor them if they are otherwise meritorious. Principally for this reason students have pored over the records, debates, and pronouncements of our founding period with an eye to discovering the principles, theories, and beliefs that undergird the system and seem to have contributed to its success. There could be "a rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project," Madison warns Dawson , p. Developments of another sort, however, present a very basic and serious threat to a republic free from the control of faction. Republican government presupposes the existence of these qualities in a higher degree than any other form. A government leaving it to a man to do his duty, or not, as he pleases, would be a new species of government, or rather no government at all. Rather than coming to substantial agreement, scholars seem hopelessly divided concerning even the most basic and important features of the American system. What he protects is not the common good but delay as such". What Madison prevents is not faction, but action. Paper currency had sparked a beggar-my-neighbor race to the bottom, as states passed laws allowing their citizens to use paper money to pay off creditors in other states where such currency was legal tender. Despite all this, there was one overriding question of enormous theoretical import that the Framers and presumably a majority of the American people answered affirmatively and unambiguously with the adoption of the Constitution; namely, they believed a republican and nontyrannical government over an extended territory possible. In his book Explaining America, he adopts the position of Robert Dahl in arguing that Madison's framework does not necessarily enhance the protections of minorities or ensure the common good.

His colleagues were lightweights, often wrong, but even when right unable to get the separate states to back their plans without constant second-guessing that bred universal distrust. Stated otherwise, when there is no independent force, the possibilities of factious control are greatly increased.

This, at best, is but a precarious security; because a power independent of the society may as well espouse the unjust views of the major, as the rightful interests of the minor party, and may possibly be turned against both parties.

Two years later, elected to the Virginia convention that pushed Congress to declare American independence, the year-old revolutionary politician made his first public splash on the question, not surprisingly, of religious freedom, the intellectual freedom that civil authorities most often have tried to crush. We shall discuss these in greater detail with an eye to determining how it is they might operate to accomplish this end consonant with republican principles. In a large republic there are men of large fortunes, and consequently of less moderation; there are trusts too great to be placed in any single subject; he has interest of his own; he soon begins to think that he may be happy, great and glorious, by oppressing his fellow citizens; and that he may raise himself to grandeur on the ruins of his country. Some difficulties, however, and some additional expense would attend the execution of it. It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects. If men were angels, no government would be necessary. Madison defines a faction as "a number of citizens, whether amounting to a minority or majority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community". We can ask, apart from the fact that representatives are more capable and virtuous than the average constituent, why should the representative assembly possess this clearer conception of the common good? Justice Clarence Thomas , for example, invoked Federalist No.

It consists in the one case in the multiplicity of interests, and in the other in the multiplicity of sects.

Contemporaneous counterarguments[ edit ] George Clinton, believed to be the Anti-Federalist writer Cato The Anti-Federalists vigorously contested the notion that a republic of diverse interests could survive. In order to lay a due foundation for that separate and distinct exercise of the different powers of government, which to a certain extent is admitted on all hands to be essential to the preservation of liberty, it is evident that each department should have a will of its own; and consequently should be so constituted that the members of each should have as little agency as possible in the appointment of the members of the others.

james madison interest groups

Thus, all the factors of extensiveness operate to render a successful conspiracy most unlikely. Calhoun, ed.

Rather than coming to substantial agreement, scholars seem hopelessly divided concerning even the most basic and important features of the American system. Madison lost that argument. This fact, often overlooked by contemporary scholars, provides very strong, albeit indirect, evidence that Madison was aware that such institutions would rest upon nonrepublican foundations and would, moreover, at best be a precarious check on factious majorities. The severity of withdrawal will depend in large measure on the sacrifices demanded of interests, and this, in turn, will depend on the extent to which government will be forced to curtail its activities. In this regard, we have already witnessed a dramatic shift in our thinking about the legitimate role of government in our society. By the same token, he placed little faith in the sufficiency of written limitations to block factions. It is no less certain than it is important, notwithstanding the contrary opinions which have been entertained, that the larger the society, provided it lie within a practical sphere, the more duly capable it will be of self-government. The French diplomats, for their part, quickly saw his value. In these terms the contrasts between the small and large republic are striking: in the small republic where the interests are fewer and the ties between individuals are such that most individuals are forced to take sides one way or the other, the possibilities of an independent and decisive force in the decision-making councils are considerably reduced. Every shilling with which they overburden the inferior number, is a shilling saved to their own pockets. It was much reprinted, albeit without his introduction. In the extended republic of the United States, and among the great variety of interests, parties, and sects which it embraces, a coalition of a majority of the whole society could seldom take place on any other principles than those of justice and the general good; whilst there being thus less danger to a minor from the will of a major party, there must be less pretext, also, to provide for the security of the former, by introducing into the government a will not dependent on the latter, or, in other words, a will independent of the society itself. Madison believed that the problem was not with the Articles, but rather the state legislatures, and so the solution was not to fix the articles but to restrain the excesses of the states.
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Federalist Papers No. 51